Ireland sees 70% reduction in chewing gum litter since 2007

Gum litter now accounts for only 8% of all litter compared with 2007 –

Gum Litter Taskforce campaign

 


The Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Food Drink Ireland and the chewing gum industry announce the renewal of successful gum litter awareness campaign

  • Remarkable 70% reduction in chewing gum litter since the campaign began in 2007
  • Gum now accounts for 8% of all litter in Ireland compared to over 26% in 2007
  • Just over one in four (27%) claim never to have dropped gum highlighting continued importance of gum litter awareness campaign to enact behavioural change

 

Ireland has achieved a 70% reduction in chewing gum litter since 2007, according to the Gum Litter Taskforce (GLT), the National Awareness Campaign to make gum litter an issue of the past. The study from GLT, also shows that gum litter now accounts for only 8% of all litter compared with 2007, when the campaign was launched. The research has been published today to mark the renewal of the campaign by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Food Drink Ireland, and the chewing gum industry. The GLT National Awareness Campaign has ambitions to further build on the remarkable success and reach of the programme to date. The renewed campaign, which is funded by Mars Wrigley, will run for a fifth cycle until 2025 on the back of a remarkable 70% reduction in gum litter since the initiative first began in 2007.

Ireland sees 70% reduction in chewing gum litter since 2007

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Daniel Vessaoker (left) with Reyne Paulo, Edan Fernandez and Aylin Torofleaca, Pupils from St. Mary’s Primary School, Dorset Street, Dublin, pictured launching the fifth campaign cycle of the Gum Litter Taskforce. Initiated in 2007, the Taskforce has worked with local authorities and schools to lead awareness campaigns on appropriate gum litter behaviours. Since the campaign began, gum has reduced as a proportion of litter from 70% to 10%. The St. Mary’s pupils pictured will participate in the GLT’s Bin It! school roadshow next year. The roadshow includes an actor-led workshop which visits schools with a theatre-in-education session encouraging students to dispose of litter, and particularly gum litter, responsibly. Pic. Robbie Reynolds

The Gum Litter Taskforce has led to a phenomenal shift in people’s attitude to litter with chewing gum dropping to a record low as a result of the awareness campaign. It has also increased knowledge of the fine associated with gum litter, with 81% of those surveyed after the campaign now aware of the €150 fine. However, just over one in four (27%) claim never to have dropped gum, highlighting the continued importance of this awareness and behavioural change campaign, particularly for future generations.

 

As part of the Gum Litter Taskforce the ‘Bin It!’ education programme will travel across the country and deliver 60 performances a year to primary schools nationwide, with the ambition to visit 180 schools by 2025. The ‘Bin It!’ school roadshow encourages students to responsibly dispose of litter, and particularly gum litter, through actor-led workshops. The latest cycle of the campaign will see the programme shift its focus from secondary school students to students in fifth and sixth class, and a return to in-person workshops, and kicks off in September.

 

The programme will also see the GLT continue to work with local authorities across the country to promote greater gum litter awareness and education programmes in their areas, through the GLT annual roadshow. To date the campaign has engaged with over 30 local authorities across the country, hosting awareness initiatives and localised launch events and providing materials to promote community-led action on gum litter. The roadshow will recommence next week, travelling nationwide between the months of June, July and August to promote responsible gum disposal with the help of local authorities.

 

Speaking ahead of the launch, which took place on June 20th, Minister Ossian Smyth, said:

“I’m delighted to announce the continued partnership of the Government and the Gum Litter Taskforce on the National Gum Litter Awareness Campaign, which has been the driving force in reducing gum litter in Ireland since it was first launched in 2007. What’s particularly pleasing to see is that the campaign continues to resonate with the people of Ireland, with each year seeing further positive changes in people’s attitudes and behaviour towards gum litter.

 

“The success of the Gum Litter Taskforce demonstrates the forward-thinking, joined up approach of industry, local communities and local government that is necessary to further drive the objective of changing the public’s gum disposal behaviour. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to achieve further positive changes in litter reduction in our cities, towns and villages.”

 

Gum Litter Taskforce Project Manager, Avril Donlon of Food Drink Ireland, welcomed the return of the campaign, and praised the success of the campaign to date:

We are delighted to continue the great work of the Gum Litter Taskforce alongside the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications. Through continuing to engage with people and educate them on the harms of gum litter, we can work to make gum litter on the streets of Ireland a problem of the past.

 

“The focus for the next three-year cycle of the Gum Litter Taskforce campaign is to increase its reach among target audiences and influence future generations through proven successful education campaigns in schools and digital activations.”

 

Corporate Affairs Manager at Mars and Mars Wrigley Ireland, Nicola Forde, also welcomed the announcement:

“The success of the campaign to date is a testament to what can be achieved when Government, local communities and industry work together, and I’m very excited that the GLT will continue its great work for another cycle. I’m particularly pleased to see the ‘Bin It’ campaign will reach a higher number of schools than ever this cycle, allowing us to engage with more students across the country. Educational engagement and encouraging positive behaviours from a young age will have long-term positive effects on Ireland’s attitudes towards litter. It’s also great to see continued engagement from local authorities throughout each cycle of the campaign, as it demonstrates the tangible results they’re seeing in the reduction of gum litter in their communities.”

 

The National Gum Litter Awareness Campaign campaign, which launched yesterday on June 20th sees representatives from the Gum Litter Taskforce working with local authorities and communities to carry out education and awareness initiatives that demonstrate the proper means of gum disposal and raise awareness of the environmental and fiscal impacts of improper disposal.

 

 

To view the Gum Litter Report 2021 visit: https://www.gumlittertaskforce.ie/_uploads/materials/GumLitterCampaignReport2021.pdf

For more information: https://www.gumlittertaskforce.ie/

 

Follow GLT here: @GumLitterTF (Twitter) @gumlittertaskforce (Instagram)

 

Initiated in 2007, the Gum Litter Taskforce is a collaboration between Food Drink Ireland, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, the chewing gum industry, and local authorities to achieve a long-term sustainable solution to the irresponsible disposal of chewing gum litter, through education and awareness campaigns that encourage behavioural change.

 

The report on the most recent Gum Litter Taskforce cycle highlights that the campaign continues to resonate, with 88% of those surveyed post campaign claiming to dispose of their gum correctly and 48% agreeing that they had stopped dropping their gum as a result of the campaign.

 

Three quarters of those surveyed felt the campaign made people stop and think about the implication of dropping/spitting their gum, while two in three (65%) people feel that dropping chewing gum is litter, second only to fast food wrappers.

The national Gum Litter Taskforce Roadshow, which recommences next week, will visit local authorities across all four provinces over the course of the Summer months. To date the campaign has engaged with over 30 local authorities across the country to promote community-led action on gum litter by hosting awareness initiatives and localised launch events and providing engagement and educational materials.

 

In September, the Gum Litter Taskforce’s Bin It! education programme will travel across the country and deliver 60 performances a year to primary and secondary schools nationwide, with the ambition to visit 180 schools by 2025. This is in addition to useful lesson plan material that has been made available to almost 730 schools across Ireland.

 

Mars Wrigley Ireland will continue to support environmental education programmes Neat Streets, Green Schools and the National Spring Clean. The National Spring Clean experienced a bumper year with the most participants on record and this sponsorship will support the delivery of the programme and the 5,600 spring cleans annually going forward.

 

The sponsorship of Green Schools will support the delivery of the programme to more than 3,700 schools across the country.

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